Famous Veteran Vincent Patton Left an Indelible Mark on the Coast Guard

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Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard Vincent Patton
Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard Vincent W. Patton greets Lt. Cmdr. Paul Gerecke shortly after arriving at Newark International Airport. N.J., Sept. 23, 2001. (Petty Officer 2nd Class Tom Sperduto/U.S. Coast Guard)

Vincent Patton III was the eighth master chief petty officer of the Coast Guard. He was the principal adviser to the commandant of the Coast Guard, with his primary focus on quality of life issues, career development, work environment and personnel matters affecting more than 36,000 active duty and reserve enlisted personnel. He routinely testified before appropriate Senate and House committees, along with his senior enlisted advisers of the other four military services.

A native of Detroit, Patton, who was born Nov. 21, 1954, enlisted in the Coast Guard in June 1972. His first assignment after graduating from Radioman (communications) School in 1973 was aboard the USCGC Dallas, Governors Island, N.Y. Patton's other duty stations as a radioman included Coast Guard Group and Air Station Detroit and Recruiting Office Chicago.

In 1979, Patton changed his occupational rating from radioman to yeoman (personnel). As a yeoman he was assigned to the Ninth Coast Guard District Office, Cleveland; served two separate tours at Coast Guard Headquarters, Washington, D.C.; and served an afloat tour on USCGC Boutwell, Seattle. Before selection to his present position, he served as the command master chief for the Coast Guard Atlantic Area.

During this assignment, he was the senior enlisted adviser to Joint Task Force-160 during Operation Support Democracy, which was the largest alien migration operation in history.

All of Patton's college education was earned while on active duty. He received his doctor of education degree in 1984 from American University in Washington. His dissertation was based on the development and implementation of the Coast Guard Enlisted Evaluation System.

He has a master's degree in counseling psychology from Loyola University, Chicago; a bachelor of science degree in social work from Shaw College, Detroit; and a bachelor of arts degree in communications from what is now Pacific Union College, Angwin, California. He is a graduate of the U.S. Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Academy, U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy (with distinction) and the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute.

Patton's numerous military awards include two meritorious service medals, three Coast Guard commendation medals, the commandant's letter of recommendation ribbon, eight meritorious team awards and eight Coast Guard good conduct awards. He earned his permanent cutterman's insignia in August 2001, completing his qualifications aboard USCGC Mako, homeported in Cape May, N.J.

Patton served as master chief petty officer of the Coast Guard from 1998 until his retirement after more than 30 years of active service in 2002.

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